For the past year, artist Karen Hawkins has excavated a dark aspect of humanity, reaching in to reclaim a measure of power over the memories left behind. The Pink Bow Project, which is on view during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, opened on April 12th at Gallery Shoal Creek in Austin, Texas.
A large-scale, multimedia work, The Pink Bow Project, is designed to envelop its audience. Upon entering the gallery, you are confronted by 52 sheer panels hung from the gallery ceiling like curtains. Massive in scale, each 9 x 4 panel holds 1000 pink hair bows, a ubiquitous symbol of a girls childhood innocence. 51,660 hair bows are being displayed, representing the number of substantiated sexual abuse cases against young girls reported annually to national Child Protection Services agencies.
As you make your way through the gallery space, maneuvering through the panels like navigating through a maze, an audio component pulls you deeper into the space. Unified through experience, a crowd of voices is heard. From the crowd, a voice comes forward, stating their name and their age at the time of their abuse, and then fades back into the crowd as another survivors voice comes to the forefront. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse herself, the first voice will be Hawkins brave statement, My name is Karen. I was 10 years old.
She invites fellow survivors to anonymously record their voices and be part of The Pink Bow Project through her website: https://www.thepinkbowproject.com
The Pink Bow Project is my response to, and visceral engagement with, the seemingly ungraspable struggle of childhood sexual abuse. It is both an invitation, and an anthem meant to honor the quieted voices that have yet to fill our universal chorus with their sound.
The installation opened to the public on April 13th with the artists reception taking place on April 21st. It will remain open through May 15, 2018. Gallery Shoal Creek is located at 2832 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd #3 in Austin, TX 78702.